Restaurant business is one of those businesses many people feel they can manage successfully. In most cases, success or failure here often reminds one that it is a business that must combine two things: (1) Your idea and skill concerning which food and drinks to sell. (2)  How to sell what you have, now and in the future. Proficiency in both and their perfect combination go a long way in determining the points you would record ahead of competition.

Basically, the following actions create success:

(a) Benchmarking:

Irrespective of size, age or status of your restaurant, there is always need to design and use the practice of visiting other operations to look for unique ideas you might adapt in your own restaurant. Let (or pay) someone to do it for you if you cannot do it yourself.

(b) Environmental perception:

You must be aware of happenings in your environment. You have to note that sometimes there could be changes in your neighborhood that might affect your restaurant. In other words, you are expected to always check for necessary information.

Much as I hesitate to suggest you make your restaurant a ‘gossip center’, you may have the need to listen to some ‘gossip peddlers’ as they operate, analyze their information, and extract as appropriate for your use.

(c) Join social groups:

In every community, clubs and associations of like minds abound. Similarly, there are other allied groups in the community to which you can belong. You will find it pertinent to join some in accordance with your ability to maintain membership. It is expected that you continuously make efforts to keep high visibility while the membership lasts. This will help to bring people to your restaurant.

(d) Meetings and gatherings:

Encourage people, individuals and groups to hold meetings in your restaurant to the extent that it is safe to do so. The truth remains that when you show a community that you support it in any form, through your operations, it may also support your restaurant in its own way.

(e) Employee retention:

Adopt a good and formal procedure for recruiting employees into your restaurant and ensure you retain employees for a long period. Good employees of restaurants are sometimes their marketers in disguise. Apply termination/ dismissal sparingly. I still believe in my policy: 80/20 Restaurant Recruitment Policy. Recruit 80% of your staff from your immediate environment (catchment area) and 20% from outside of it.

(f) Professional bodies/unions:

Join whatever professional body that governs your trade in the community or beyond. Also see the need to join the appropriate trade unions, and strive to make relevant impact there. You are advised to always participate in committees, talk at meetings, write articles if necessary. If the owner of the restaurant does not have what it takes to participate in these, a younger employee may be nominated to represent the restaurant.

( g) Choose your acquaintances:

There is need for you to get acquainted with reliable local security people, transporters, tourist firms, and others who may have to do with transient persons around your area of operations.

(h) Be large-hearted:

Help the less fortunate people around your operations. Sometimes, a meal to a loafer may mean more than you think. Help with caution. Try as much as possible to be open handed, but do not waste resources.

(i) Your customers:

Do three things only: Smile to your CUSTOMERS! Smile to your CUSTOMERS!!  Smile to your CUSTOMERS!!!

(j) Renew your knowledge:

Attend small training programs to renew your knowledge and skills. Relevant programs may be in the area of Hotel Management, Management Skills, Marketing, Customer Service/Relations etc.

Lastly, employ what I call a third – eye. Let there be an outsider who comes and looks at what you are doing, advises you on next profitable strategies to apply. This can be achieved with some money paid on monthly basis – preferably a consultant. Hotel/restaurant business environment is so dynamic that changes unknown to you can ruin your business.

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Bernard Taiwo

I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.

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